Bonnie, a friend of mine from the Wayward Writers, tagged me for this interview. Thanks, Bonnie! And I will be searching for folks to tag.
1) What is the working title of your book?
Emmie. Which happens to be the name of the ghost in the novel. Agents and editors both told me at the San Francisco Writers Conference that the title sucked wind. I quietly wondered whether they would have told Jane Austen that Emma was a bad name for a novel.
If they'll put it on the bookshelf they can name it what they like.
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
I've loved ghost stories since childhood, though that's beside the point. On the way from visiting friends in Rogers, Arkansas, June 2012, I listened to the audio book "On Writing" with Stephen King himself reading. I metaphorically closed my eyes (or I would have been roadkill) and pretended that he spoke directly to me and me alone.
I had the idea by the time I got home. "What if a middle-aged bachelor bought a house haunted by the ghost of a woman who'd been brutalized by men in her lifetime?"
I began writing that very day.
3) What genre does your book fall under?
I would have thought "Paranormal Romance," but have since been told that I break too many rules of that genre for it to "fit in." One agent I spoke with in San Francisco encouraged me to think of it as a Gothic Romantic Mystery.
Hey, as long as it sells, they can call it French toast. Or the Rocky Genre. I'm not real picky about this.
I actually think of it as an old-fashioned ghost story.
4) What actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I've thought about this since I'm convinced (perhaps arrogantly) that the novel lays great for a movie. Not an Oscar-winner, but a pretty good yarn.
Tommy Lee Jones as my middle-aged bachelor Will. Amy Adams as the ghost Emmie. Robert Di Niro as the jerk-of-a-brother Gene (if he can pull off a southern accent), Stockard Channing as Will's sister Lizzy and Alfre Woodard as Lizzy's partner Carla.
And I would cast my good friend and former acting coach Spencer Milligan to play Cornbread. At 75, he is, technically, a tad young for the role, but he could pull it off big-time!
5) What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book?
I provided a version of this a little earlier with the "what if," but let's have another go. "A middle-aged bachelor retires and buys a house haunted by the ghost of a woman murdered on the grounds in 1902 with whom he falls in love."
I know. It's not the best one-liner out there, to be sure. I'll continue working on it.
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I would prefer to walk down the traditional road with agent and editor at a publishing house, but self-publishing has come along so much these last few years as a viable option for writers, that I will keep an open mind. I've actually considered self-publishing one or two of my short stories on Amazon or Barnes and Noble to get my writing out there.
I may do that yet.
7) How long did it take to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Six weeks to the day. At 74,000 words, it served more as an elaborate outline than a true first draft, but I've never written anything faster or with as much passion. And, all things considered, it turned out better than I could have hoped. The characters presented themselves to me and I followed their lead.
From it, I had the basic plot and subplots and the characterizations.
8) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Every campfire ghost story I've ever heard. Every ghost story I've ever read. Every ghost story I've ever seen at the movies or on television. And every novelist I've ever read from Jane Austen to Suzanne Collins, from Daniel Defoe to Stephen King.
Most importantly, though, every one of my friends who have encouraged me over the years to keep at it, to keep telling my stories without sacrificing myself has inspired me. To all of them, I offer a heartfelt thank you.
9) What about the book might pique the reader's interest?
How a live man and the ghost of a woman can make love.